An Annual Evaluation of Your Credit Cards:
Since the holiday season is quickly bearing down upon us, it may be a good time to sit down and evaluate your credit cards. Evaluating your credit cards means checking your current interest rates, late payment charges and over-limit fees, as well as your reward points.
Performing this type of annual checkup can help consumers make sure they have the best possible credit cards for their ever-changing needs.
Evaluate Your Credit Card Interest Rates:
Review each of your open credit card accounts and double-check your interest rates. Sometimes the banks raise them a percent or two. Unless you sit down and evaluate your credit cards and check your current statements.. you may not realize you are actually paying more interest than you were a few months ago.
This could be a good time of year to explore the potential of transferring your higher interest balances to a card with a 0% introductory interest rate. There are several balance transfer credit cards offering a 0% introductory rate for as long as 12 months to 18 months, and in some cases even longer.
Evaluate Your Rewards and Cash Back:
Since credit card issuers are always interested in attracting new customers, this could also be a great time to switch to a card which offers a better credit card rewards program in the form of points, airline miles, or cash back whichever will best serve your needs.
Remember, not all reward programs are created equally, so be sure to compare the offers and consider which credit card you feel offers the rewards that would best suit your lifestyle.
Carefully review all of the information available about your existing reward credit card programs before you make any decision about changing cards. Check for any restrictions that may be placed on when and how the rewards may be used.. limitations that may be set on rewards.. maximum reward earnings in any given period.. and whether the rewards have an expiration. These are all important factors to consider.
Remember, the rewards and cash back credit card programs are based on money that you have spent using your credit card. If you are earning air miles rewards, but you fly only infrequently, the rewards may not be very useful to you. It may be wiser to find a reward credit card that provides cash back and/or points which may be applied towards other things in addition to travel.
Evaluate Your Retail Credit Cards:
Remember to review any revolving credit card accounts you may have with individual stores. In most cases these cards carry higher interest rates than bank credit cards. Additionally, these cards can only be used in specific stores, making them far less valuable than bank cards, which can be used nearly everywhere.
Auditing all of your credit cards on an annual basis makes good financial sense. Since most of us are likely to use our credit cards during the upcoming holiday season, this is an excellent time to sit down and determine which credit cards you have (or may wish to apply for) that offer you the best possible interest rates as well as the best rewards for using your cards.